Yesterday Facebook told the rest of us about their upcoming plans regarding the update coming to Pages in the next couple of weeks, even though it may have been on their developer’s road map since last fall. Most marketers, especially those in the B2B space, do not read the Facebook Developer Blog, so this was news when the following statement appeared at the top of Pages you manage.
Preview Your New Page Layout
To make your Page easier to browse, we’re simplifying a couple things: 1. Boxes are going away (including the Boxes tab); 2. All custom tabs will be narrower (520 pixels). This is your chance to preview your Page and make edits as needed before the new layout goes public on August 23.
This means that any custom pages created with FBML, but especially landing pages, can now be only 520 pixels wide, rather than the previous 760 pixels. This is a reduction of more than 30% in the width of the page. This is a huge loss of screen real estate. Facebook allows so little customization to Pages that the only way B2B companies could present any sort of branded experience is with a custom landing page, or other additional custom tab. Below is the Dell for Business Facebook Page with its revised layout. The white space on the right is the width they will be losing. Click the image to see this full size and you will understand why designers will be upset.
And based on the the new preview of Pages, the left column seen on the Page Wall, which normally does not appear on custom pages, will now appear. Below is what the new Dell Business Page will look like once the new layout is released.
The ability to create a branded landed page for first time visitors (and anyone else who has not Liked the Page) is a great feature. It allows brands to provide custom links to other Facebook tabs, destinations on their corporate website, set expectations for the Facebook Page, and even remind visitors to Like the Page. And now there is significantly less space on the page to do all that. Not to mention that best practices for landing pages are to minimize navigation to help direct the visitor. The addition of the left column only adds visual clutter and makes the page more like other tabs, rather than a landing page.
If any of your custom tabs or landing pages are straight FBML, which is primarily HTML, a re-design of the page should be fairly straightforward, however, if your landing page is in Flash or a custom application that fills the old space, it is time to get moving on an update. Pages that are not revised by the date that this update goes live will appear cropped and visitors will only see the leftmost 520 pixels.
Do you have a landing page or other custom tabs that need to change? Did you know about this changing size before yesterday?